Employers will need to update their flexible work and family-related leave policies over the next few months, following the Children and Families Act 2014 receiving Royal Assent on 13 March 2014. Changes include:

  • From 30 June 2014, the right to request flexible working will be extended to all employees with 26 weeks’ service. The current statutory procedure for dealing with flexible working requests will be replaced with a duty to consider requests in a reasonable manner, supplemented by a statutory code of practice from Acas (discussed here).
  • From 1 October 2014, fathers and partners will be able to take time off to attend up to two antenatal appointments.
  • In respect of babies due or children placed for adoption on or after 5 April 2015, mothers, fathers or adopters will be able to opt to take shared parental leave within the first year after the birth or adoption placement. Adoption pay and leave entitlements will also be brought into line with those of birth parents. Employers will need to reflect the new shared parental leave rights in their policies, once final regulations setting out the detail have been published.  See here for further details of the new regime.